I found the subject of circumcision interesting, especially female circumcision. I've never heard of it before I came to Europe. I guess I was oblivious to what happen under my nose.
Turns out, there are also female circumcision (type I or type IV) in Indonesia, albeit it is not as drastic as in Africa, just as the NYTimes reported it several weeks ago.
WHO classification of female genital mutilation
I. Excision of prepuce and part or all of clitoris
II. Excision of prepuce and clitoris together with partial or total excision of labia minora
III. Infibulation and excision of part or all of external genitalia
IV. Pricking, piercing, incision, stretching, scraping or other harming procedures on clitoris and/or labia
If you read Ayaan Hirsi Ali's account, you would have thought that female circumcision is part of Islamic culture. But from what I can gather so far, this practice goes back even before christianity.
I wont go into long discussion on the Islamic teaching, I just know that there are several school of thoughts regarding this matter. The Shi'ite has never practiced this procedure, it is even outlawed by all leading Shi'ite Marjas. However, the Shafi'i school (predominant in East Africa & South East Asia) rules that clitoridectomy is mandatory. If you look at the primary source of Islamic teaching, namely Quran & Hadeeth, one can find nothing on female circumcision in the Quran. However there's one weak hadeeth mentioning of cutting only the prepuce and not the clitoris. Most of the scholars view this hadeeth doesnt require anyone to perform or to undergo a circumcision, while some Pro-FGM view it as to do the procedure but not so far as to threaten health.
In Indonesia, the Ministry of Health has issued a decree forbidding medical personnel to practice female circumcision, but in the practice it is mostly done by traditional circumcisers and birth attendants who has little knowledge of modern medicine. How do they do it? Some do it ritualistic- rubbing tumeric on the genital or prick the clitoris with a needle or scalpel, others do what is known as type I, cutting prepuce and with of without part of clitoris.
I asked several doctors on their experiences on this matter, all of them did it ritualistically. So I wonder why did the MoH issued that decree? I found it safer for the girls to have it done by medical personels than by traditional circumcisers who can go as far as FGM type I. Dont get me wrong, I am against such a thing as FGM, but I agree with Dr. Guarenti of WHO, if we judge this practice harshly, they will be isolated, and if we banned it all together, it will only be done underground. It makes it more difficult to change it. Meanwhile, we need to educate people, men and women that female circumcision has no medical merit what so ever, even can lead into health and probably sexual problems in the future and that practice is better be stop as soon as possible.